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Philia, eros, and agape are three different Greek terms for the word. These three terms explain the different types of love a human being can acquire. Philia is a love of friendship, which is grounded in commonality. However, eros is a kind of love that seeks something from the other person or thing. Lastly, agape is the love that wills the good of the other and is completely self-giving.
The meanings of these Greek terminologies, philia, eros, and agape, allow us to better understand and discuss our relationship with God and human fulfillment.
In order to find human fulfillment, one must find God of Jesus Christ as well. Erotic loving is our desire for this fulfillment, which can be seen through eros. Human nature can be simply defined in our constant want and need for infinite. The infinite, for humans, is never being satisfied, always wanting more, the best, and as much as we can get of something.
This insatiable drive within all of us takes us to the question of human fulfillment. Eros is not a noun but yet an action or an activity. For instance, eros is the longing and search for a significant other throughout our lives.
By the same token, we search for God and yearn for infinite happiness and fulfillment from God. All human beings in one-way or another seek about human fulfillment.
An example of someone who struggled with human fulfillment is Augustine. Although later he became known as Saint Augustine, in his earlier years he was everything but. Augustine was very intrigued by very common materialistic desires such as worldly possessions and lust. These skewed desires enthralled his thoughts, words, and actions.
Consequently, Augustine became involved in petty crimes in order to feed this idea of “love” in the materialistic world. This concept of love and desire can be further illustrated as a receding horizon; the farther you continue into the horizon the bigger and more numerous your wants become. Later on Augustine reflected upon his materialistic ways of life and made significant life changes to become the Saint Augustine he is referred to today. As exemplified, the essence of eros can have a negative outlook and has been evaluated as such by Jean Paul Sartre.
Sartre attested that the human being is a useless passion due to our insatiable desires. Markedly, human beings desire to retain the infinite and that need is simply impossible. For the search for the unlimited is tiresome and unappeasable. Conversely, there is an alternate way of looking at eros. In order to have hope, God has to appear to human life as not a receding horizon but an absolute savior. Human beings long for the truth and due to the constraints of science and history, Jesus is seen in an alternate way because he is no longer limited by space or time.
In this case, Karl Rahner and Saint Augustine both agree that God always initiates the relationship with human life. Namely, they asserted that we are constantly drawn to God and God is not drawn to us. Because of this, we have the option of forming a better relationship with God. Rahner said that God dispenses his grace to all human beings of every religion in and God is continually accepting. Chiefly, it is not God’s choice to accept or deny us, for that is not his matter?. Anthony De Mello describes another explanation of human fulfillment to us.
He explains to us that in order to have human fulfillment, we must detach ourselves from our worldly attachments. As human beings, we allow ourselves to believe that we cannot be happy without a certain thing or person in our life. Thus, that is not correct. We completely wreck ourselves with the belief in finite things. De Mello also emphasizes that we shouldn’t not care about these things and people in our life but rather we realize that we can live without them and be intent with that. ? Besides eros being a description of love there is also philia.
Philia is the love of friendship or brotherly love. This kind of love is seen most commonly between friends who share things in common. Once we seek God, we have a friendship with God. Although, God is not described by philia because it is not completely reliable due to changes in friendships in positive and negative ways, and God’s love never changes. On the contrary to philia, agapic love is God. The terminology of agape explains God’s love as it wills the good of the other. Agape is all self-giving and never asks for anything in return.
When a person gives them self to God, this love is agape. Nevertheless, agape and philia types of are critical to having a strong relationship with God. ? The doctrine of the Trinity can be viewed as God invites human beings into the inner life of God. Consequently, the doctrine of the Trinity correlates with this topic of discussing the types of love. The idea that God is three persons, yet one essence exhibits that God revealing Godself. God not only communicates with us, but he also draws us into the Trinity.
Rahner expressed that the doctrine of the Trinity “is not a subtle theological and speculative game but is about the self-communication of God. ” In the final analysis, there are two models that Christian theologians have formulated in an attempt to address the question of the salvation of non-Christians. These models are the Replacement Model and the Fulfillment Model. The Replacement Model mainly represents the Fundamentalist and Evangelist churches which existed over most of Christian history. This model emphasizes the scriptures from a literal standpoint.
According to the Replacement Model, in order to be saved one must be in connection with the Church. Quite clearly, the Replacement model is not very accepting of other religions and believes only Christians will have salvation. ? The Fulfillment Model represents the majority of modern day Christians. The Fulfillment Model preaches the perspective that Christians need to have dialogue with non-Christians. In addition, many Christians think it’s not fair to punish those who have never learned the religion of Christianity or even heard of it.
The Fulfillment Model is a way to accommodate people of all different faiths and as long as they are moral, that they too will see eternal life with God. By and large, Karl Rahner’s ideas mostly correlate with the ideas of the Fulfillment Model. The only real difference is that he states is that other religious views are also true. The church did not accept Rahner’s view because quite simply the church thought that other religions couldn’t be true and by believing so it devalued the image of Jesus in the Christian Church.
In Vatican II, the council agreed with Rahner’s except they said there was no such thing as “anonymous Christians” and that other religions cannot be viewed as ways of salvation. Moreover, I believe that the Fulfillment model is the most accurate description of how non-Christians should be viewed. I believe that all people have salvation in God because God knows and loves all human beings. Lastly, I believe that by thinking that God doesn’t save non-Christians limits the idea God’s everlasting love.